The ability to communicate effectively is crucial to making sure the members of your association understand all that you offer. In the latest episode of Association Adviser TV, we spoke with Carl Good, vice president of membership, marketing and business development at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Good shared several strategies for ensuring that the right information reaches the right members at the right time, including:
- Targeting different segments within your membership. Each of your members should feel they are receiving information from you that is customized to their unique interests, needs and delivery preferences. Associations like the NRCA send frequent surveys to help them better understand their members’ communication preferences. Other organizations use regular phone calls, interactions at their live events and data gleaned from their marketing automation platforms or CRMs.
- Creating engaging content. If your association sends out a lot of information in many different forms—but to the same members every time—those members can feel overloaded. “We’re looking at ways to consolidate our IT activity so that we do a much better job of tracking those types of transactions and interactions. [This way] we can be more efficient in what we send and really send people things that they want and need, and not everything,” Good stated.
Effective member communication not only engages, but encourages them to continue investing time and energy in your association and to renew their membership. By analyzing the content a member or prospective member is engaging with, an association is able to serve that person with more content related to that topic.
Tailor your communications channels and content
How do you determine the types of information members want and how they want to receive it? Ask them!
Speak to them informally at your conferences and other live events. Gather feedback through regular phone calls or surveys. Mine your MAP or CRM for hints. Your association can track all information using your preferred database.
Tailor your association’s messaging based on members’ preferences for receiving information and the types of content that resonate with them most. You can even share the results of your member surveys in your newsletter to give members of your association an idea of how other members prefer to receive your communications. Through these interactions, you might also be able to provide members with important information that isn’t reaching them in other forms. To be certain your members are staying informed, member-facing individuals should have a list of the top three initiatives to be brought up as part of every member conversation; for example, how members can make the most of their membership. This list can be updated quarterly and helps associations ensure their high-value initiatives are being communicated to members.
Effective member communications are particularly important with new members—the cohort most likely not to renew at many organizations. Your association has the opportunity to share with them how to make the most of their membership. Connecting with new members on a more personal level can positively impact their outlook on your association and their decision to renew, which increases the likelihood that they will renew their membership when the time comes.
Remember, when crafting a communications plan:
- Acknowledge segments within your membership.
- Offer different communications channels.
- Tailor content based on member preference.
- Check in regularly with existing members through phone calls, surveys and on-site conversations.
- Conduct personalized introductions for new members.
Focusing on these strategies will guarantee that each touch point you have with a member not only engages them, but reminds them of the value of their membership.
To hear Carl directly about the topic of effective member communication, tune in to part two of the latest Association Adviser TV episode.